Traditional Sicilian painted wagon
Before having a siesta after lunch last week I came across something on Face Book that a friend had posted.
It’s an article that appeared on the village webpage of Custonaci, a small town outside Erice. The article references a piece published at the end of last year in the Los Angeles Times about the best pastries in the world being made in Sicily.
While in general I would agree, as soon as I saw the article I was struck by deja vu. To finish off our lunch of roast chicken and panelle we had …. one of the very same pastries featured above.
Cassatina Siciliana – the classic mini Sicilian cassata
The ones we bought were from a local pasticceria in Erice, while not the best that I have eaten they were a nice way to finish our meal.
Cassatina is a small cake, that’s how I think it’s best to describe it. The nearest thing in UK supermarkets are the famous Mr Kipling French Fancies – small sponge cakes that are covered in icing.
Selection of Mr Kipling French Fancies
Personally, I like the Kipling cakes though do not feel the sane sense of satisfaction after eating them that I get from cassatina’s.
The Sicilian cassatina, if well made, has that level of satisfaction that only comes with freshly made cakes made with great ingredients and the passion of a good pastry chef.
The traditional cassatine are made with a sponge base soaked in fruit juice (or alcohol, eg marsala), with a layer of ricotta cheese and candied fruit, topped with a thin covering of marzipan. Delicious and possible to make at home (though I will write about this at a later date).